I posted over the weekend regarding questions that were popping up regarding AA “500-miler” upgrades, and the new combined program in Q2 2015. The questions centered around news that the “buffer” historically given by AAdvantage for upgrades would be disappearing. My take was that this would come with the combined program, and not immediately. I highlighted the issue in my first post on the new AAdvantage program:

2015 AAdvantage program, new AAdvantage program, combined AAdvantage program, 500 mile upgrades on AA

As noted in my weekend post, I did reach out to American for clarification, asking two questions in separate emails. First, I asked:

“Specifically, regarding the new 500 mile complimentary upgrades. During the call I asked if the “grace buffer” which I believe to be 51 miles would remain in place, and the answer given was no. 500 will mean 500. I took this to mean that this change will be made when the programs combine in Q2 2015, and not immediately. Am I correct in that assumption?”

And in a follow up email I asked:

“For example, a 1,501 mile flight – my read on the 2015 combined program is that it would require 4 upgrades. Am I correct?”

I did receive a reply, and I wanted to share it here.

“This is correct – any “buffer” that used to exist will be gone once we launch the new upgrade policy in second quarter 2015.” (emphasis mine)

So, the buffer is here for now, but will be gone when the programs combine in 2015. That’s the way I took things to work originally. The other little wrinkle in all this is my example of the 1,501 mile flight, or my original example of 515 miles. My understanding of that situation has not changed, you’re going to be using more stickers than you were when the programs combine. This will generate some angst. On the other hand, we are getting complimentary upgrades for flights up to 500 miles. Comments?

-MJ, November 6, 2014

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